The average teacher impacts about 3,000 students in his or her lifetime. Imagine what could happen when you inspire 3,000 individuals.
Teaching is a profound mission. In order to help teachers inspire their students, I curate and organize many free professional development projects, such as #Edchat, The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators, the Reform Symposium E-Conference, and the Crafting the ePerfect eTextbook EVO Session. Over the last year, I have seen several trends gain momentum--trends that I believe will grow and flourish in 2014.
Web tools like Edmodo, Google, and Facebook have integrated various apps into their platforms to allow users to do more from within the platforms, like create presentations and videos. The success and growth of these apps suggest that users prefer a selection of fewer tools that do more; after all, the apps often save teachers a lot of time and make tedious tasks, like grading, easier.
One example is Educlipper, a new bookmarking tool for education that recently topped Edmodo’s "Editor's Pick" App List. Adam Bellow, Educlipper’s founder, made a smart move by developing his tool into an Edmodo app. New and existing web tools should consider integrating apps to be successful.
Educators now have a huge selection of open online courses, seminars, webinars, and conferences to choose from. While educators work many hours and participate in most of these events on their own time, they rarely get paid to attend these events. Therefore, the time spent has to offer more than just quality professional development. Participants have to feel that they are part of a community and sharing in rewarding moments.
Online course providers looking to increase their participant completion rates will need to make their participants feel as if they are part of a community--sharing experiences and developing friendships. Participants in DS106, a digital storytelling open online course offered by the University of Mary Washington, created videos, podcasts, and images that they later shared through social networks like Twitter. Other Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) like ETMOOC and ELT Techniques allowed participants to produce collaborative lipdub videos and raps. In 2014, I believe many online professional development projects will offer participants an active community where they can engage regularly in collaborative fun, learning, support, and sharing.
Teachers and students are collecting digital badges to document their online learning, which will continue into 2014. Digital badges are becoming an essential part of learning, and has even been adopted by the US Department of Education. During Connected Educator Month, badges were given to teachers for attending various professional development events. Platforms such as Edmodo and Classbadges now provide teachers with tools to give students badges for completing various assignments and tasks.
In 2014, I believe many online professional development projects, events, and social networks will offer badges. I also believe that popular conferences like ISTE and BETT will find creative ways to motivate teachers to participate in events by offering them badges.
For the past year, schools have been advocating for curriculum that focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), which has created an atmosphere that encourages students to use critical thinking skills to create and produce. Recent teaching trends that exemplify this have emerged and gained popularity, including Makerspaces, genius hour, and coding. In 2014, I believe more teachers will join these movements.